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  • Writer's pictureColleen R. Carpenter

Wrapping it Up with Tyvek (Updated: 04-29-20)

Updated: Sep 11, 2020

I know what you’re thinking… Why the heck is Word Processing Diva, LLC writing an article about Tyvek? I have a short and sweet answer to that. Because I LOVE CONSTRUCTION that’s why, and if I could shout it from a perfectly pitched, Cross Gable rooftop, I would. And believe me, had I known 30 years ago that I had such a sweet spot for architecture, home development, and interior design I'd be filthy rich by now.

In case you’re wondering, yes, Word Diva has dabbled in many successful home improvement projects and is quite handy with tools. I took a semester in construction where we built (and sold) a shed, so I was fortunate to get a sampling of everything from framing, to drywall installation, hanging doors and windows, and running electrical wiring, so don’t let these dainty hands fool you! (They can do a whole lot more than type 70 wpm.) Check out this photo of me up on a ladder at the Somerset County Technical Institute wielding a Pneumatic Framing Nailer and a smile. I was one of three women in a class of about 15 men and felt totally at home. I enjoyed that class and the instructor, Mr. Farnham, was awesome.

So, back to my unfulfilled construction dreams… To mitigate my situation, I’ve decided to take another approach and connect this passion to something else I’m trying to accomplish-becoming a better writer. I’ve learned that to be a good writer you must write–a lot–and preferably about something you care about, and voila! Here I am creating the first, of hopefully many posts about construction topics of interest to me, and possibly others. I've decided to further educate myself on various construction and home improvement topics, and share that information from a layperson’s perspective. What do you think? These articles aren't meant to be overly complicated, just informative, and hopefully a tad entertaining.

Professionals in these fields are certainly welcome to chime in to clarify or expound upon topics if desired. Even if no one reads these posts, I will have enjoyed writing them and researching the topics. I’ve always had a curious nature and like learning new things, so for me, this is a win-win situation.

The topic of Tyvek came to mind when I noticed a new construction going up near my place of work. I got excited, as I always do, seeing a new structure being erected from groundbreaking to a fully functioning building. I believe that the imaginations and creativity of architects and interior designers are absolutely fascinating.

Since this construction is currently underway, I wonder how the finalized building will be used. Sure, I could search Google to find out, but that would spoil the fun of envisioning the final result. As the days go by, I ponder what materials and color scheme will be used for the exterior of the building, and what special design details will take place inside. I look forward to driving past that building each day to see what progress has been made and what phase of construction is underway.

One day I drove by the site and noticed that the entire building had been wrapped in white paper. I’ve seen structures in this condition before, but this time I vowed to find out exactly what this was and why it was necessary to wrap up an entire building like a Christmas gift. The word “TYVEK” was stamped all over the paper, so I began my quest to find out more about it and why this process was necessary.

Well, it turns out that Tyvek was created by an innovative company called DuPont, which was founded in 1802. The company’s website describes Tyvek as having “infinite possibilities,” and further goes on to state that it’s not paper, nor fabric, but consists of high-density polyethylene fibers that are 100% recyclable. Do you know what else I saw on the website that made me smile? These words: We encourage our customers to develop new ideas for Tyvek®, and to dream big.” Wow! Look at that. I love DuPont already.

I’ve learned that the reason construction companies wrap buildings in Tyvek is because it’s strong, waterproof, and tear-resistant. The sheets contain tiny perforations allowing water vapor to get in while keeping liquid water out. In other words, it protects buildings from moisture while still allowing it to breathe.

Woman wearing a dress made of Tyvek.
Tyvek Dress

You'd be surprised to know of other uses for Tyvek that have absolutely nothing to do with construction. Did you know that Tyvek is used to wrap cargo containers to keep them moisture-free during travel? Additionally, Tyvek is used to make coveralls to protect workers in a variety of industries like asbestos and radiation work.

Tyvek can be found in many forms of medical packaging replacing paper and other forms of plastic due to its strength, resistance to water, and sterile qualities. It's used to create envelopes, labels, and wristbands. Have you ever been to a vacation resort where you had to wear a wristband to prove you're entitled to be there? Sometimes those are made of Tyvek, so forget about tearing it off with your bare hands and go ahead and get those scissors.

Some countries have even created their banknotes using Tyvek. And, amazingly, some fashion designers have incorporated this incredible textile into clothing by making Tyvek dresses, jackets, and even shoes. Ingenious, functional, and multi-use. Way to go DuPont. Tyvek rocks!

The Covid-19 global pandemic has brought Tyvek to the forefront once again for its non-construction uses. Tyvek has upgraded its Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) by increasing the capacity of Tyvek® protective fabric, and getting it to those on the front lines as quickly as possible. During a re-visit to their website I found these encouraging words: “At a time of great human need, DuPont scientists, engineers, and countless employees are working together to deliver solutions to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.” Compassion, dedication, and teamwork! I am so impressed with the DuPont brand and its commitment to global solutions.

As I update this blog, I’m happy to report that the initial building that captured my attention has now evolved into two matching structures with gray siding, crisp white trim, and beautiful accents using multi-colored, gray bricks. The purpose of the structures is no longer a mystery. I’ve discovered that they are condominium-style villas and, while still under construction, I marvel at what must be happening inside. I would adore putting on a hard hat and switching out my pumps for work boots just to take a peek around! As I learn more about the construction industry and see the amazing, creative work being done, I have developed a stronger appreciation for the relationships between architect, interior designer, and builder. Seeing how they take their ideas from blueprint to physical space astounds me.

What I find equally intriguing is the planning that goes into interior decorating once the outer work is done. Who decides what color scheme will be used and the vibe they want people to feel when they walk into the space? As I watch my favorite home renovation television shows I sometimes wonder what designers mean when they toss around design styles like “Art Deco” or “Mid-Century Modern.”

I recently learned of a great resource for gaining more knowledge about this very subject. Happy DIY Home has created a comprehensive guide called “25 Interior Design Styles Explained,” which answers many questions about various styles and how to apply them to transform a space. This insightful and detailed list, complete with beautiful photos, will have you feeling like an expert in no time.

I believe the passion I feel for construction and home improvement is in my DNA. Who knows why, because no one in my family has ever built a house. Despite this, I have found myself reading construction blogs and have joined construction, handyman, and house painter Facebook groups to learn more about these industries. I’ve heard it said that you can create the life you want. Do you think that’s true? I aim to find out. I want a life that allows me to connect with and work for these industries through writing and website design. I’ve always loved a challenge, so onward and upward!


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